Young Corn

Young Corn, Grant Wood, 1931
Young Corn, Grant Wood, 1931

Grant Wood’s rural landscapes have been rolling through my own imagination longer and more powerfully than I realize. When considering colleges, an art professor in a prospective college sent me a postcard with a Grant Wood landscape on it. The anthology of stories we read in my first college Creative Writing course pictured an eerie, rolling Grant Wood painting of a hearse on a road shadowed by a cross-shaped telephone pole. Back then, I didn’t care so much about who painted what, or even who wrote what. I liked pictures. I liked stories. I didn’t have loyalties yet. Funny how relationships with particular artists and authors grow on you. Grant Wood is not someone I consider a favorite, or even someone I’m particularly familiar with. But somewhere in his round trees and swelling fields, his winding roads and curving fencelines, I belong, quite like his farm buildings all belong in his landscapes. This is no wilderness. This is farmed land, cultivated, grown, loved, and utilized. This is land where people exist and make the most of every hill and hollow. I’m not a stranger here, and maybe that’s why I am comforted by Grant Wood’s landscapes. Maybe it is also a bigger picture of why I return to the plowed and planted lands of great art and great literature. A good harvest seems likely.

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5 thoughts on “Young Corn”

    1. I grew up in the American heartland. Grant Wood always brings me back to my childhood. The pregnant, rolling hills capture a more idyllic, less chaotic time in my mind. Although, come to think of it he was painting during the depression. Not so idyllic. Beautiful painting.

      1. It’s interesting what imagination will do when reality is grim. I think, because it is so much a part of Grant Wood’s imagination or idea-world, it fits well into our own idea-worlds. That’s probably why I feel such a strong belonging; it’s not a specific reality. Thanks for the comment.

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